I've been Paleo for about two months. I'm finding that coconut products -- coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut oil -- have become one of the main foods I eat. I drink about two cups of coconut milk each day. I use coconut oil for cooking. And I like to just eat coconut butter out of the jar or melt it and add cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Is it okay to be eating so much coconut? Thanks so much. Toni
Many people around here will say "yes", but I'm personally careful with it. I don't mind virgin raw unrefined coconut oil, and true coconut milk, but the rest are kind of processed. Coconut is close to becoming what soy is for vegans: their everything. My opinion is: let's be careful with it, and simply let's reduce baking or the kind of cooking that requires coconut flour, butter, sour cream, ice cream, soy sauce replacements (coconut aminos), vinegar etc etc.
I too am a little bothered by the coconut-centric focus that paleo tends to have. I prefer a varied diet, & a variety of oils, rather than a dependence on a single oil. I do like coconut milk, but maybe use a can every other week. A little coconut shred and flour on occasion, but it's just not a staple in my diet.
Based on buying and consuming whole coconuts, I'm not really concerned by either coconut milk or flour, except that a whole coconut probably produces a cup or less of rich coconut milk and the milk would include the oil (that becomes the thicker "cream" that rises to the top.) The rough fiber left after squeezing out the milk would make a couple cups or less of flour. I suspect tropical folks might habitually consume 2 or even 3 coconuts per day, the the rest of our diet is probably richer than the rest of theirs.
In that context, I probably consume the equivalent of a whole coconut every 2 or 3 weeks. That works for me, but it sounds like you enjoy it more than I do and I seriously think that's an important clue. I don't think we should force ourselves to eat things we don't like or enjoy and I also believe eating a ton of a rich food we like could become problematic if we're trying to lose weight.
I was pretty hardcore with the coconut for a while--especially coconut milk and oil which I used in a daily smoothie. But then I started having reactions to it so I had to scale back...a lot. No more smoothies for me. I do ok with a bit of coconut oil used in a cooking and a sprinkle of coconut on top of something, but more than that and I regret it.
I love using coconut milk in curries, so I'm hoping I'll be able to add that back in as a once in a while thing soon.
When traditional cultures eat coconut oil as their primary source of fat, from age 1 to 100 they surprisingly have lowest levels of heart disease in the world. No high blood pressure, even in the oldest members of society even tho they ate every day for 100 years. What are people afraid of? MCFA are only found in coconut oil, palm kernal oil, milk and human breast milk. So that leaves coconut oil and palm kernal oil for the adult paleo. Why not increase the benefits for the brain, digestive system, immune system. Coconut ketone therapy-feeds cells without the need for insulin. In Alzheimer's the brain cells are dying, you lose mental ability - but ketones pass the blood brain barrier and can feed the brain cells. This gives the brain cells the energy it needs to heal. I think everybody can benefit from eating 1-3 Tbs of coconut oil each day, more if you are dealing with a chronic disease. It slows the absorption of carbs from a meal, another benefit. It helps increase insulin sensitivity. A lightly processed coconut milk is just the flesh pressed. Coconut flour is dehydrated defatted coconut. These lightly processed foods are not the same as highly processed, refined products. I agree with balance, but I don't think we need to worry about eating coconut oil and coconut foods.